Featured Recovery Reviews

Rock Rub

Rock RubRock Rub is a rather odd thing, but like many odd things we’ve sort of fallen in love with it.


The basics: Rock Rub is either a massage wax or a callus-busting moisturiser for your hands or possibly both. If you looked at the strap-line on the jar – ‘Go stronger, for longer’ – you might get a third, more Fifty Shades, impression. The confusion comes in depending on whether you check out the wax on the US website or its UK counterpart; in the US, Rock Rub is predominantly sold on the basis on its hand-moisturising strengths whereas in the UK it would appear we’re not quite ready to admit that rough hands are something that need dealing with. Weird, but there you go and in fact Rock Rub is pretty damn good all round.


The reason why Rock Rub works well as both a moisturiser and a massage aid is down to the ingredients of course. Beeswax (Australian beeswax to be specific, although we don’t know if that’s significant) forms the base along with canola oil, to which is added vitamin E, patchouli, lavender and the mysterious sounding ylang-ylang. It’s really the latter – along with the vitamin E benefits – that make Rock Rub so good for the skin, whilst the beeswax, with it’s slightly ‘tacky’ qualities that make it so well balanced for massage, particularly myofascial release.


Whilst we had feared that patchouli and lavender would be an overpowering combination, the smell is actually subtle and, most importantly for massage, the consistency remains constant during treatment and a little goes a surprisingly long way.


So whether you’re looking to soften those cycling hands or just get some much-needed massage in before that next long ride, Rock Rub pretty much hits the spot. We’re glad to have cleared up any confusion…


Rock Rub is available in 50g pots at £6.72 or 400g pots at a really reasonable £14.99. Further details at

Extras Featured Reviews

Boot Bananas

Boot BananasBoot Bananas are a novel and effective way to take care of those stinky cycling shoes.


In essence Boot Bananas are full size banana replicas that deodorise and absorb moisture from post-ride shoes using a range of natural active ingredients including bamboo charcoal, sodium bicarbonate and zeolite. The latter is a mineral that was used to absorb radioactive caesium following the Fukushima disaster, so it’s fair to say it will cope with your bike shoes.


Instructions for use almost go without saying: remove your feet from the shoes (if you need to be told this you probably shouldn’t be tackling shoes alone), stuff in the Boot Bananas and leave them to work their magic hanging from the integrated carabiner. From time to time they need to be refreshed by simply setting to dry in the sun or near a radiator; eventually they will give up the ghost entirely – the makers claim a good six months depending on use and, helpfully, they slowly change colour (or ripen) as an indicator.


Boot BananasThe natural fragrances used are lavender, lemon, patchouli and tea-tree oils and whilst the we had feared that lavender would leave our shoes smelling like a Sunday afternoon at nan’s, the scents are actually very well judged and not in the least overpowering.


Boot Bananas are a truly useful – and fun – addition to any cyclist’s bag of tricks.


£13.99 a pair Boot Bananas can be purchased online at or from a range of stockists.

Extras Featured Recovery Reviews

Hot Ginger Muscle Soak

Hot Ginger Muscle SoakHaving launched with Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz, both very good, Natural Hero added Hot Ginger Muscle Soak to their offering. Never wanting to pass up a hot bath in the name of work, Cyclo took the plunge.


Whilst both the Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz boast 98% and 99% natural ingredients respectively the Natural Hero Hot Ginger Muscle Soak goes the full distance with 100% credentials. This means there are no parabens or added sodium laureth sulphate (both cosmetic and toiletry staples) to worry about. What the soak does contain is a blend of premium grade ginger root, rosemary, and sweet fennel essential oils that soak tired muscles; the ginger also adds a glowing warmth to proceedings. A dash of sweet almond and starflower essential oils, both of which nourish and condition the skin, are excellent addition when you consider the damage that the elements do to the exposed expanses of the average cyclist.


Look, we’re not necessarily suggesting you light some candles and put on a little Katie Melua, but a recuperative soak after a tough race or training session makes good sense as part of the recovery process and Natural Hero’s Hot Ginger Muscle Soak ticks plenty of boxes.


Hot Ginger Muscle Soak comes in packs of six 18ml bottles, each good for one soaking. Available online from, amongst others,

Featured Features

Revolve24 Endurance Cycling Top Tips



With Revolve24 just around the corner, we figured it’s time to find out what it takes to cycle in a 24-hour endurance event… So we asked a man in the know, Simon Lillistone, the Race Director for Revolve24.


Lillistone is perfectly positioned to offer advice on cycling events; the two times Olympian (1988, 1992), also led the delivery of all the cycling events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Now he has his sights firmly locked on Revolve24, with the first relay-race taking place in September at Brands Hatch. Here are his tips to help you take on this 24-hour endurance event…



Keeping fuelled is essential whether you’re in for the win or just for fun. You’re pushing your gut to the limit as well as your legs, so make sure you know what works for you by trying different foods and drinks before the big day. Eat accurately too, refuelling straight after each ride session and snacking regularly while you’re riding to keep energy levels stable.



Worrying about how to deal without sleep concerns a lot of 24-hour first-timers. Get your head down and your feet up to aid recovery blood-flow while you sleep. Don’t slouch in a chair. Even if you can’t actually sleep, just lying down, relaxing and closing your eyes is valuable R&R. Obviously waking up again is just as crucial as sleeping! Make sure you have a good alarm clock, and a second back-up alarm on your phone or watch, both set to give you enough pre-ride prep time when it’s your turn in the relay.



24-hour racing can be an emotional experience, especially if something breaks. Bring any specific spares you might need (gear hangers, long-valved inner tubes, Di2 chargers, etc.) but also pack ‘pit kit’ such as a spare pair of shared wheels for a fast change between laps. While mini tools and C02 inflators rule on the circuit, in the Pit Garage, a decent work stand, a pair of wash buckets and a track-pump makes keeping your bike clean and dialled ready for the next lap easy.


Head torches are also super useful whether you’ve got a midnight mechanical, or you’re trying to put your bib shorts on the right way round in the dark (we’ve been there!) If you have the room, rollers or a turbo trainer are great for a quick warm up/down to keep cramp at bay as night turns to day.



If there’s one piece of advice the best 24-hour racers always share about clothing, it’s “take everything”. Be versatile with what you wear on the track: arm and leg warmers can be rolled up or down depending on conditions and thin shells can keep you surprisingly warm but still stuff into a back pocket. Pack all your shorts and socks too, as dragging stinking sweaty kit back on for another lap can be enough to crack the strongest resolve, and can rub you raw. We can’t recommend saddle cream highly enough in an endurance event – it can literally save your ass – and baby wipes are perfect for freshening up before laps.



Get your bike professionally serviced, lubed and running smooth in the weeks before the event. Check tyres are in good condition. Don’t be afraid to try small tweaks beforehand either. For example lowering tyre pressures to 90psi or switching 23c tyres for 25c can also add comfort and control you’ll really appreciate by the time dawn comes around or corners get damp with dew.

Resist the temptation to change anything significant for the race weekend. Being able to trust that your bike works perfectly is way more important than risking reliability for the sake of a handful of grams of drag or a few more watts at the rear wheel.



Revolve24 is a global series of 24-hour cycling relay races set at iconic motor circuits around the world. Officially launched at Brands Hatch – which will also play host to the first event on September 19-20 – the series will then embark on a world tour throughout 2016 including famous motor racing circuits in the USA, France, Spain, Portugal and Canada. Full details of Revolve24 at

Apparel Featured Reviews

Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid

Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidCyclo have long been fans of Quoc Pham, purveyors of ‘classically-inspired, hand-lasted cycling shoes’, but despite trying a few varieties, we’ve never tested a pair of the Bike Polo inspired ‘Hardcourt’. We decided to put that right…


Known for SPD compatible classic leather shoes the Hardcourt is the company’s only departure into Nylon. The Hardcourt comes in ‘Low’ and ‘Mid’ models, with the Mid offering a higher, desert boot-like, shape and the Low more easily passing for a rather smart pair of minimalist trainers. We road tested the Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid for a week using various SPD equipped bikes.


Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidThe company claims that it provides ‘style, comfort and functionality in ways that allow cyclists to seamlessly transition from cycle to sidewalk to office.’ In the case of the Hardcourt that holds true; the black on black styling will go with pretty much anything you’re wearing. Off the bike the heavily recessed soles mean you soon forget you are wearing anything but a normal, very comfortable, pair of boots.


Fitting the SPD clips on the sole was effortless with everything you need supplied in nice orange cloth ‘after care’ bag. The reflective strips on the heel are a nice touch, although they came a little scuffed out of the box.


However, it’s on the bike that they really shine. That’s down to two factors – the fit and the sole. The Mid offers seven lace eyelets so that you can pull the body of the shoe as tight as you like and it stays that way; the padding on the upper panels add to the comfort levels. The hardened mid-sole showed zero flex, and gave a secure and effortless pedal action.


Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidThe shoe softened and ‘broke in’ after just a few days constant wear, stayed snug, was wind resistant but stayed cool even with prolonged use. However, bear in mind that this boot is water ‘resistant’ not waterproof. In heavy rain water will seep through the tight weave and soak your feet.


The price of £159 is a little higher than competitors such as Chrome and DZR although neither produces an SPD shoe that directly compares.


So, if you are looking for a casual, low maintenance, boot for sports or urban hops the Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid does the job in a comfortable, functional way. Rumour has it that each pair takes a day to make. Judging by the quality of materials and attention to detail that wouldn’t surprise us.


Further detail and online purchase of the Hardcourt and the full range of Quoc Pham shoes can be had at

Extras Featured Reviews


pOcpacKeeping belongings dry on the bike is a perennial problem and one to which the pOcpac may well have the solution. If legend (or marketing) is to be believed, two brothers from South Africa – both engineers and keen mountain bikers – were out one day in the bush and caught in a torrential downpour that soaked everything in their saddlebags and pockets. They noticed that the only thing unaffected was the water in their camelbaks and so the pOcpac was born.


The pOcpac range of sealable bike packs are made from recyclable (though not actually recycled) material which has both memory and elasticity, meaning the cases can be filled to the brim and still close effortlessly. The closure is achieved via a fairly standard looking zipped press-seal, but unlike many fastenings of this type TriGear has encountered they stayed firmly and reassuringly shut however much we tried to over-stuff the packs.

The pOcpac is available in a range of sizes and even smartphone specific flavours; a neat and functional solution that do one thing and do it extremely well. An obvious benefit is that they can be slipped into a jersey lumber pocket; neatly hold everything together in one place (and keeping them dry as a bone) without the need for saddle- or seatpost bags.


pOcpacAlso of note on the pOcpac website is the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight and Watertight pack – bit of a mouthful, but a useful emergency first aid kit to keep with the bike. The 70g kit offers basic wound management and blister treatment and whilst a couple of the items (two giant nappy-size safety pins for example) do seem like filler items the basics are pretty much covered and the tiny water-proof zipped pouch works well.


The three sizes of cycling pOcpac retail at £9.99 (although both the road and off-road pacs are currently on offer at £5.99), whilst the phone pOcpacs are £8.99. The medical kit is yours for £11.99. Further details and online orders at

Featured Nutrition Reviews

Osmo Active Hydration

Osmo Active HydrationOsmo Active Hydration, available in both orange and blackberry flavour, comes packed in jersey pocket friendly 20g sachets ready to blend in the bottle. Created by endurance athlete, exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy Sims Osmo Active Hydration is intended for use during exercise to actively increase fluid absorption and replace key electrolytes which would otherwise result in an overall loss of performance on the bike.


So what’s in the pack? Unlike most sports hydration and nutrition products Osmo seems a little coy on the subject; obviously the ingredients are listed (sucrose, so basically sugar, being number one), but it throws in ‘OsmoAct Beverage Base Blend’ to appear a little more arcane – although this then is a blend of sucrose (more sugar or the sugar already listed?), D-glucose (sugar again), sodium citrate, potassium citrate, magnesium citrate and calcium citrate. Osmo Active Hydration also includes a range of vitamins including C, B2 and B12.


Mixed with 500ml of water (and taking a little shaking to mix) Osmo does prove rather sweet – hardly surprising when 17g of the packs 20g weight is sugar – but the flavours are fairly refreshing with no artificial aftertaste. On test they seemed to help hydrate well and went down easily enough – the levels of ‘salts’ look well balanced for the job in hand and the convenience of the small tubular packaging was appreciated.


Osmo Active Hydration is a perfectly decent product, let down a little by both the branding and information (or lack thereof) on the website. Not sure they are doing themselves any favours by noting that Stacy Sims ‘assisted Lance Armstrong in researching thermoregulation in 2010’ either…


A further oddity is that both the blackberry and orange flavours are listed on the Osmo website as being specifically ‘for men’, whilst women get their own mango flavoured variety which are formulated to help ‘avoid premenstrual-related performance decline…’ Fair enough (and seemingly scientifically valid), but we’re sure there’s room for the ‘regular’ formula in most women’s kit bags too.


If you’d rather regulate your hydration strategy with zero calories then something like H2ProHydrate or ZipVit’s ZV0 Electrolyte Drink will serve you better – but if you want a (very quick release) sugar surge thrown in – or want to avoid ‘avoid premenstrual-related performance decline’ – then Osmo Active Hydration clearly ticks the right boxes.


24 sachets of either blackberry or orange Osmo Active Hydration retail at £34.80 (as do the women-specific mango flavour) or all three versions are available in cheaper, but perhaps less convenient, tubs of 400g for £15.99. More confusion again here as the 400g tubs are advertised as being 40 servings, yet a serving is listed as being 20g – so isn’t that just 10 servings?


Further details and online purchase of Osmo Active Hydration at

Books Featured Reviews

Alpe d’Huez

Alpe d'HuezIt might seem madness to dedicate an entire book to a single climb, but when the climb in question is the legendary Alpe d’Huez it all starts to make much more sense.


Sometimes referenced as the Tour de France’s ‘Hollywood climb’ the iconic Alpe d’Huez, which tortures riders through 21 numbered hairpins at an average gradient of 7.8% for a sapping 13.8km, was first introduced in 1952 (conquered by Fausto Coppi) but had to really sit it out until 1976 to become the institution it now is.


Cycling journalist Peter Cossins – author of the equally excellent The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-day Races – combines both passion and reverence for the climb, weaving together stories of TdF appearances with tales of the climb’s (and resort’s) developments and occasion scandals. Whilst you might expect such a niche book to appeal wholly to the geekiest of cycling enthusiast Cyclo would argue that the highly accessible prose and sheer joy of the writing could tempt even the most casual Sunday cyclists.


Only a handful of pictures are included – something of a shame, but a limitation of the format – although more than an intimate sense of association with Alpe d’Huez is conjured up regardless. Anyone who has ever watched the TdF riders slug slowly – sometimes not so slowly – up this climb, battling the legendary crowds as much as the mountain, will find inspirational detail here and those who have been brave/fortunate enough to tackle it themselves will be able to relive every last energy-depleting twist and turn.


If any one single climb deserves a book all to itself, it’s the Alpe d’Huez and Cossins is demonstrably the man to tell the tale.


Alpe d’Huez: The Story of Pro Cycling’s Greatest Climb by Peter Cossins is published by Aurum Press, currently available from, amongst other places, Amazon at £12.99 hardback and £12.34 on Kindle.


Further details and all the latest news from Aurum Press can be found on Facebook and Twitter - You can follow Peter Cossins on Twitter too @petercossins